Mount Assiniboine: Images in Art


160 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-894765-97-8
DDC 971.1'65




Reviewed by Kathy E. Zimon

Kathy E. Zimon is a fine arts librarian (emerita) at the University of
Calgary. She is the author of Alberta Society of Artists: The First 70
Years and co-editor of Art Documentation Bulletin of the Art Libraries
Society of North America.


Jane Lytton Gooch's second book (the first was Artists of the Rockies: Inspiration of Lake O'Hara, 2003) is devoted to images of Mount Assiniboine in British Columbia, and follows in the style of art books initiated by Lisa Christensen's hiker's guides. The novelty of Christensen's guides was that they matched paintings with their actual vantage points in the Rockies. Using the guides, hikers can locate exactly where members of the Group of Seven chose to set up their easels. By contrast, Gooch, an avid hiker, begins with the landscape and presents the images inspired by it. In both her books, Gooch expands the genre through the inclusion of contemporary artists and their work alongside the better known historical paintings and photographs.


Mount Assiniboine, rising 1475 metres above the waters of Lake Magog, is described as "this magnificent pyramid, towering over the glacier and the lake." The introduction details early explorers and their expeditions up the mountain, as well as the various attempts at depicting it in photographs. In late summer 1901, James Outram finally succeeded in an ascent, followed by others in short order, including Mary Vaux Walcott in 1907, the first artist to visit the Assiniboine area. The mountain was also popularized by the Trail Riders, the CPR and its artists, and by skiing, hiking and climbing enthusiasts. Gooch briefly introduces some of the artists associated with the area: Frank Panabaker, Carl Rungius, Belmore Browne, Peter and Catharine Whyte, A.C. Leighton, and contemporary artists like Joe Plaskett and Jean Pilch, among many others. Over half the book is devoted to full page colour images of Mount Assiniboine with commentary on facing pages. Endnotes, a list of artists, a bibliography, and an index complete the volume.


The appeal of this genre is based on the inclusion of many images of its subject, and Mount Assiniboine is no exception. It is a welcome addition to the small but growing pile, if not mountain, of books on mountain art in the Canadian west.



Gooch, Jane Lytton, “Mount Assiniboine: Images in Art,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,